Healthy Eating… Or Not

If you go to page 124 of our book you will see some examples of the government’s record on healthy eating. New Labour has headed up supposedly marvellous new indicatives so that better food is served in hospitals.

Although it has graduate-educated dieticians in all hospitals in the country, these dieticians were not sufficiently clever apparently to be allowed to produce actual recipes, or advise on menus. Enter celebrity chefs, stomping on one after another……trudge trudge trudge. Albert Roux, Loyd Grossman. All to no avail. (Jamie Oliver presumably would have been next but he is diverted to schools). The hospitals mostly ignore all advice. So the government starts up a Public Sector Food Procurement Initiative, which is presumably an effort to get hospitals to buy in healthier food. As Martin Hickman in The Independent reports, none of these initiatives really worked; the last new big idea was the Healthier Food Mark.

The consequence of this was in 2009 it is reported that hospitals serve worse food than prisons. Obviously the cooks just carried on ordering in their usual catering size bags of chips and burgers. Cooking? That’s just something that happens on T.V.

And then to cap it all the government attempts to bring in a simple traffic light scheme to label food, so you could tell the fat, sugar, protein content at a glance, but it bows to the food and drink lobby and changes its mind. Despite the fact that at least a third of cancers are supposed to be diet-related, and treatment costs the NHS billions of pounds a year. Yes, as we say in our book, procurement and lobbying are both definitely very dodgy words.

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